Originally created 09/21/00

Hairdresser sentenced in molestation

SAVANNAH - A federal judge in Chicago sentenced former Savannah hairdresser Joel Moore to 41 months in prison Tuesday for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy.

Now, Chatham County prosecutors want their day in court.

Mr. Moore, whose full name is Joseph Panel Moore, owns Joel & Co. in Piccadilly Square. He pleaded guilty May 22 to engaging in sexual acts with a boy aboard a Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to Chicago on Feb. 28, 1998.

U.S. District Senior Judge George Marovich also ordered Mr. Moore, 46, to serve five years of supervised release after completion of his jail sentence and to pay a $15,000 fine.

Because there is no parole on federal sentences, Mr. Moore would be expected to serve 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for release. The judge recommended Mr. Moore be incarcerated at Coleman, Fla., a federal correctional facility near Orlando.

Judge Marovich also ordered Mr. Moore to undergo drug counseling and sexual predator treatment while incarcerated and afterward, and to have no contact with anyone under age 18 without supervision during his supervised release.

In addition, Mr. Moore must register as a sexual offender in Illinois. If he goes elsewhere he must report and register there, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Ellis said.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, probation officers set the sentencing range as between 18 and 24 months. Those levels were doubled based on relevant conduct in a Chatham County case, court documents show.

Mr. Moore faces an indictment charging that he committed sexual offenses against a 17-year-old Richmond Hill youth between July 15, 1996, and June 30, 1997.

"We are taking steps today to bring him back," Chatham County Assistant District Attorney Greg McConnell said Tuesday.

Mr. Moore had tentatively been scheduled to appear before Chatham County Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf on Oct. 2. That date will change because of the time needed to get him back.

As part of Mr. Moore's federal plea agreement, he admitted that he intentionally touched the genitalia of a sleeping boy seated beside him on the flight, concealing his actions under a blanket removed from an overhead compartment, court documents show.

Mr. Moore sat next to the victim after leaving his assigned seat and moving into the first-class section before the aircraft left the gate at Atlanta, documents show.

Chatham County prosecutors indicted Mr. Moore in December on charges of child molestation, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery and indecent exposure involving a teen-ager between 1996 and May 31, 1999.

The indictment charges that Mr. Moore touched the youth on repeated occasions, at least some of which was forcible and against the victim's will.

As part of his federal plea agreement, Mr. Moore "acknowledged" committing the offenses charged in the Savannah case. The word "admits" in the plea agreement is lined through and the handwritten word "acknowledged" substituted - apparently after Mr. Moore balked at the original form.


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